The Sungate Trust, formed for the benefit of the family of Ms. Zhang Xin, and M. Safra and Co., Inc., the New York-based investment firm of the Safra family, have purchased
a 40% stake in the General Motors Building, 767 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, one of the world’s most iconic commercial properties.
Goldman Sachs U.S. Real Estate Opportunities Fund and Meraas Capital were the sellers in a transaction arranged by Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan of CBRE Group, Inc. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction, which closed on May 31, 2013, represents the highest total valuation for a property since the General Motors Building sold in 2008. Boston Properties continues to hold the remaining 60% stake in the 50-story, 2 million ft² (approx. 18,580 m²) tower and manages the property. Meraas Capital was also advised by CBRE Global Investors. Goldman Sachs served as financial advisor to USREO.
“This landmark sale signals a return to the billion-dollar plus level for an individual investment transaction and is recognition of the value for elite trophy assets by the most sophisticated global investors,” said Ms. Stacom of CBRE. “This sale underscores both the GM Building’s universal appeal as one of the world’s most important commercial assets and New York City’s un-diminished value, as the premier location for trophy investment properties.”
“Office space that epitomizes the premier business environment, combined with the most valuable retail location in the United States, places the GM Building in a global investment category all-its-own,” noted Mr. Shanahan of CBRE.
Ms. Stacom and Mr. Shanahan have been responsible for a number of seminal New York City real estate transactions in recent years. CBRE just sold Macquarie’s Headquarters at 125 West 55th Street; the record-breaking $707.8 million (approx. €540 million) sale of 666 Fifth Avenue’s 38,000 ft² (approx. 3,530 m²) retail condominium, and the 49% recapitalization of the famed luxury residential tower, New York by Gehry, which set an all-time high valuation of $1.05 billion as well as the creation of the new retail venture at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The team also arranged Google’s $1.8 billion (approx. €1.3 billion) purchase of 111 8th Avenue, which transformed Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, in 2010.
The General Motors Building, which occupies the entire block between Fifth and Madison Avenues and 58th and 59th Streets, was built in 1968 and designed by renowned architect Edward Durell Stone. The tower’s Central Park views and modernist white marble-clad design make it one of the most recognizable office and retail locations in the world. The building hosts Apple’s famed glass cube store on its Fifth Avenue plaza, a location which has become a retail legend. Other notable tenants include the Estée Lauder Companies, Icahn Enterprises and the premier law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges.